Skywest Airlines

IATA Code: XR

ICAO Code: OZW

Known As: Skywest Airlines

Full Name: Skywest Airlines (Australia) Pty. Ltd.

Country: Australia

Call sign: Ozwest




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Brief History


On 18 February, 1980, Skywest Airlines was formed, after Skywest Jet Charter Pty Ltd acquired Stillwell Airlines and their routes, for $5m.

The combined fleet consisted of 39 aircraft, with 69 pilots.

Skywest became the 2nd largest commuter airline in Australia, after B.P.A. in Queensland.  Skywest then served from Perth - Albany, Bunbury, Cue, Esperance, Meekatharra, M. Magnet, Rottnest Island, Telfer, Wiluna and Yeelirrie and from Karratha - Onslow, Paraburdoo and Tom Price.

During December, Accord Nominees Pty Ltd gained all the shares in the Skywest group of companies.

On 8 January, 1982, it was announced that Skywest Airlines and Transwest Airlines had merged, with Accord Nominees, Devereaux Holdings P/L and Zung Fu Co, Ltd, Hong Kong each holding a one-third share.  At that time, Skywest had 16 aircraft and employed 100 people and Trans West had 25 aircraft and some 140 employees.  Both companies maintained separate operations, with little change until April.

On 23 February, Foreign Investment Review Board approval was announced.  On 12 March, Devereaux Holdings Pty. Ltd. (R.F. Stowe) announced its intension to acquire Zung Fu Co.'s one-third share; giving it 66.7%.

On 1 April, it was announced that Skywest Airlines Pty. Ltd. had been formed (combining Skywest, Trans West and Westralian Aviation Pty Ltd) with Transwest Airlines’ operations combined with those of Skywest Airlines, with an initial fleet of 36 aircraft.

The name Skywest Jet Charter Pty Ltd was initially retained, for charter operations, but ceased to exist as of 30 August, 1982.

During October, 1983, Skywest Airlines was granted a full airline license by the WA Government and permitted to compete with Airlines of Western Australia over several intra-state routes.

On 16 December, Skywest Holdings Pty Ltd, which was a subsidiary of Griffin Holdings, purchased East-West Airlines Ltd from East-West Development Pty Ltd.

On 24 May, 1985, Skywest Holdings Pty Ltd announced the proposed merger of Skywest Airlines and East-West Airlines.  However, this never took place, although some schedule rationalisation took place.

On 17 July, 1987, Skywest Holdings Pty Ltd and its subsidiaries were acquired by the Perron Group.  This included Skywest Airlines/Aviation and East-West Airlines.

On 31 July, Skywest Holdings Pty. Ltd. was acquired by Bodas Pty Ltd (T.N.T./News Corp.), from the Perron Group.

On 10 November, the arrangements for the divestment of non-East-West trunk operations components of Skywest Holdings Pty Ltd were announced.

On 5 October, 1994, Skywest introduced its first Fokker 50, VH-FNH, into service.

During July, 1996, Bodas Pty Ltd sold Skywest Aviation Pty Ltd, to the Paspaley Pearling Group, but retained ownership of Skywest Airlines.

On 20 December, Ansett Holdings Ltd acquired 100% of the shares of Bodas Pty Ltd and thus Skywest Airlines.

At 0030 AEST Friday 14 September, 2001, all operations by Ansett Australia, Aeropelican Air Services, Hazelton Airlines, Kendell Airlines, Skywest Airlines and Ansett Australia Cargo were suspended by Ansett’s administrators, Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

On 23 September, 2001, Skywest Airlines resumed reduced low frequency operations, with the 1st operation by Fokker 50 VH-FNB, operating AN7661 Perth-Albany and Esperance.

On 14 December, the Ansett Australia's later administrators, Andersens, reached agreement in principle to sell Skywest Airlines to Airline Investments Ltd.

On 21 February, 2002, Skywest Airlines were sold to Airline Investments Ltd., for $6.5m.

In 2004 it was the subject of a hostile takeover attempt by a Singapore-based investment company CapitveVision Capital Ltd, which succeeded in gaining a majority stake.

On 8 February 2007, news broke that the airline may be the target of a tie-up with Singapore-based Tiger Airways, although no business arrangements were ever concluded. Skywest Airlines Pty Ltd is ultimately owned by Singapore incorporated London Stock Exchange, Advent Air Ltd ,who now own 100% of the airline.

Skywest's first Airbus A320 was registered in April 2010. It was delivered to the Perth operating base on 23 October 2010 and from November operated charter services between Perth and Cloudbreak for Fortescue Metals Group. Skywest announced that it had optioned a second A320 on the 12 of May 2011.
 
On 10 January 2011, it was announced that Virgin Australia has announced a 10-year alliance that will see Skywest Airlines operate up to 18 turboprops in the bigger carrier's colours.

The alliance with the Perth-based airline is part of new push by Virgin Australia into regional Australia. The agreement will see the airlines codeshare on some of each other's flights and follows a Virgin move to sell smaller Embraer jets used on regional flights.

Virgin Australia and Skywest customers will also continue to be able to earn and redeem frequent flyer points on each other's networks. Skywest will lease the new planes from Avation PLC (LSE: AVAP) with the first four planes scheduled to arrive in 2011.

10 April 2012 Skywest Airlines entered into an agreement for Virgin Australia Holdings Limited
to invest A$8 million in the Company. The stake would represent 10% of the ordinary shares in Skywest. Skywest already has a strong working relationship with Virgin Australia and the two airlines are currently operating four ATR 72 aircraft as part of the Australian Regional Airline Network
Agreement. This fleet will grow to 12 by the end of the 2013 financial year.

Virgin Australia Holdings purchased 10% of Skywest Airlines Ltd on 10 April 2012. On 30 October 2012, Virgin Australia announced a takeover bid for Skywest Airlines.

It had received in principle support from the Board but the takeover would require shareholder and regulatory approval. On 11 April 2013, Virgin Australia Holdings completed its 100% acquisition of Skywest Airlines.

From 7 May 2013, the use of the Skywest brand was discontinued and the airline became part of the Virgin Australia brand, however it will continue to operate under its current Air Operator’s Certificate and its own management team.
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